Iran: Four members of Ahwazi Arab minority executed after unfair trial

 

Amnesty International considers that apparent execution of at least four men, including three brothers – all members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority – following an unfair trial lacking any transparency encapsulates all the worst aspects of Iran’s state killing machine.

Ahwazi activists close to the family told Amnesty International that brothers Abd al-Rahman Heidarian, 23, (also known as Heidari), Abbas Heidarian, 25 and Taha Heidarian, 28, along with a fourth man named Ali Sharifi, were executed in Ahvaz’s Karoun Prison on or around 19 June 2012. They said that following their execution, the men’s bodies were not returned to their families.

The fate of a fifth man, Mansour Heidarian, who was detained in the same case and believed to be a cousin of the brothers, is unknown.

The brothers and Mansour Heidarian were apparently convicted by a Revolutionary Court of moharebeh va ifsad fil-arz or “enmity against God and corruption on earth” in connection with the killing of a law enforcement official in April 2011 amidst widespread protests in Khuzestan.

Yet another man, Amir Muawi, (or Mo’avi) who may have been tried in connection with the same case has reportedly been sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment, to be served in internal exile. However, Amnesty International is unaware of the exact details of the charges against him and his trial proceedings. Earlier reports suggested that he had been sentenced to death.

The three brothers and Amir Muawi were reportedly arrested around 18-19 April 2011, in connection with a demonstration in Ta’awen Street, in Malashiya during unrest in Khuzestan marking the sixth anniversary of unrest in the province. Malashiva is an impoverished district in the east of the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan, in south western Iran. Amnesty International is unaware of the date of Mansour Heidarian’s arrest.

The activists told Amnesty International that the men were held in solitary confinement at a facility under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence in the Chahar Shir district of the city Ahvaz. It is not known when they were initially tried, but it appears that the decision by Iran’s Supreme Court to uphold their death sentences was communicated to family members on or around 5 March 2012

Under Iranian law, lawyers must receive 48 hours’ notice of their client’s execution, but it is not clear whether these six men have ever been permitted legal representation.

Amnesty International believes their trial was unfair, as it appears that the men were not represented by lawyers of their choice, and at least one was shown on a national television channel “confessing” to the crime. It is not known when the men’s initial trials before a Revolutionary Court took place. Their families have said the men “confessed” to murder, but did so under torture or other ill-treatment. Iranian courts frequently accept “confessions” extracted under duress as evidence.

Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees is commonplace in Iran, often to try to force detainees to make “confessions”. Coerced “confessions”, sometimes broadcast on television even before the trial has concluded, are often accepted as evidence in Iranian courts.

The three brothers, as well as Ali Sharifi, Amir Muawi and Mansour Heidarian, were reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on or around 9 June 2012. Transfer to solitary confinement of death row prisoners frequently happens before executions are carried out.

Amnesty International recognises the rights and responsibilities of all states to protect those under their jurisdiction and to uphold the rule of law. However, the organisation is unconditionally opposed to the death penalty, which it considers to be the ultimate violation of the right to life, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the individual, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

In this regard, the organisation is deeply dismayed at the execution of these four men after apparently unfair trials, which violate Iran’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which it is a state party.

Amnesty International has also learned that a fourth brother, Jalil Heidarian, was summoned to an office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Ahwaz on or around 9 June 2012. Apart from a quick telephone call to his family on the day of his arrest, the Heidarian family has not had any further contact with him and are unaware of his current legal status.

Amnesty International is calling for the authorities to immediately inform Jalil Heidarian’s family of his whereabouts and his current legal status, and for the fate of the other six men to be clarified. While held, he should be protected from torture or other ill-treatment, granted access to his family and a lawyer of his choice, and to all necessary medical care. If he is not to be charged and promptly tried on an internationally recognisable criminal offence, he should be released.

Background

Ahwazi Arabs, one of Iran’s many minorities often complain that they are marginalised and discriminated against in access to education, employment, adequate housing, political participation and cultural rights. Some Ahwazi Arabs – who are mostly Shi’a Muslims like the majority of people in Iran – have formed groups calling for a separate Arab state in the area.

In April 2005, Khuzestan province was the scene of mass demonstrations, after reports that Iran’s government planned to disperse Ahwazi Arabs from the area and to attempt to weaken their ethnic identity.

In April 2011, members of the Ahwazi Arab minority organized “Day of Rage” protests across Khuzestan province to mark the sixth anniversary of the earlier unrest. Afterwards, Amnesty International was given the names of 27 people allegedly killed in clashes with the security forces, including in the Malashiya neighbourhood. Ahwazi Arab sources claim there were more casualties, while the Iranian authorities claim only three people died.

http://www.amnesty.org.au/news/comments/29022/

EU HR Ashton disturbed by reports of human rights situation in Iran

Summary: 21 June 2012, Brussels – The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today on the Human Rights situation in Iran:

“The High Representative is disturbed by the reported execution of three Ahwazi Arab men, detained since 2011 on grounds which reliable reports suggest are political. The EU has expressed, on numerous occasions, its concern about the position of minorities in the country and has called on Iran to refrain from discriminatory policies. On capital punishment, the EU has called on Iran, as it does on all states which insist on maintaining the death penalty, to halt pending executions and to introduce a moratorium.

In addition, the High Representative is very concerned about the reported verdict of the Iran Court of Appeals in the case of Mr Abdolfattah Soltani. The Court recently issued a 13 year prison sentence in ‘internal exile’, on charges of propaganda against the system, participation in founding an illegal organisation and collusion against national security. Mr Soltani is a prominent Iranian lawyer who bravely stood up to defend the rights of numerous human rights activists in his country. This exceedingly harsh verdict constitutes yet another unacceptable attack against the legal profession in Iran. The High Representative calls on Iran immediately to drop all charges against him and to release him.

The above developments show a clear deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran, in the general context of an increase in use of the death penalty, repression of ethnic and religious minorities and the ever precarious situation of human rights defenders in the country. ”

  • Ref: EU12-211EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum:
  • Date: 21/6/2012

http://www.eu-un.europa.eu/articles/en/article_12328_en.htm

 

British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Urges European Commission to Consider Whether There Is a Need for a UN Fact-finding Mission to Al Ahwaz

 
 Marina Yannakoudakis
British MEP, Marina Yannakoudakis, has tabled a parliamentary question to The EU´s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton regarding alleged human rights abuses by the Iranian government against its Arab citizens in Al-Ahwaz to raise further awareness on this issue and to gain more information.
She called on European Commission to  consider  whether political pressure can be exerted by the European External Action Service (EEAS) on Iran to bring an immediate end to ethnic, religious, economic and cultural human rights violations faced by its own Arab citizens in Al-Ahwaz.
Ms. Yannakoudakis requested the EEAS to consider alleged abuses, which include unfair trials, torture, forced confessions and executions, have been well documented by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and whether there is a need for the EEAS to contact the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, to request a UN fact-finding mission to Al-Ahwaz/Khuzestan to investigate these disturbing claims in their reply.

Iran: Authorities Defiant on Rights Record

Executions Soar, Activists and Dissidents Systematically Suppressed

January 22, 2012

(New York) – Iranian authorities in 2011 carried out more than 600 executions and imprisoned more journalists and bloggers than any other country, Human Rights Watch said today in issuing its World Report 2012 Iran chapter. Iran’s judiciary works hand-in-hand with security and intelligence forces to harass, imprison and convict opposition and rights activists, despite increasing international condemnation of the country’s rights record.

In March the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Ahmed Shaheed to be the first special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran since 2002. Since Shaheed’s appointment the Iranian government has refused him entry to the country, executed more than 400 prisoners – including people convicted of committing crimes when they were children, and prosecuted dozens of outspoken lawyers, journalists, and rights activists for their peaceful speech and associational activities. In February the authorities placed the 2009 presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi under house arrest, where they remain.

“The Iranian government crushes all voices of opposition while scoffing at the international community’s growing concern over human rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

In its 676-page World Report 2012, Human Rights Watch assesses progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including popular uprisings in the Arab world that few would have imagined. Given the violent forces resisting the “Arab Spring,” the international community has an important role to play in assisting the birth of rights-respecting democracies in the region, Human Rights Watch said in the report.

In Iran, the authorities carried out more than 600 executions, according to several rights groups, even though the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and four UN experts pressed Iranian officials for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty, “particularly for drug-related and juvenile cases.” Government sources announced only around 350 of these executions. The vast majority were for drug-related offenses, including trafficking and possession. The pace of executions accelerated following the entry into force in December 2010 of an amended anti-narcotics law, drafted by the Expediency Council and approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Despite the hundreds of executions, Yuri Fedotov, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), made no mention of the wave of executions taking place in Iran for drug-related offenses and praised the country’s anti-drug efforts during a visit to Tehran in July. The UNODC has provided up to $22 million since 2005 to support training projects for Iran’s anti-drug forces, and the European commission, European Union member states, and several other governments including Japan, Norway, Australia and Canada, provide money, technical assistance, and legislative support to Iran’s anti-drug efforts.
Iran also led the world in the reported execution of people convicted of offenses they allegedly committed before age 18, despite the prohibition on such executions under international law. Iranian law allows capital punishment for people who have reached puberty, defined as age 9 for girls and 15 for boys. The judiciary allowed the execution of at least three children in 2011.
Authorities have executed at least 30 people since January 2010 on the charge of moharebeh (“enmity against God”), for alleged ties to armed or terrorist groups. On January 9, 2012, a revolutionary court in Tehran sentenced Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, an Iranian-American, to death on charges of moharebeh, “corruption on earth,” and espionage. The judiciary sentenced Hekmati after authorities detained him for more than four months without providing him access to a lawyer, his family, or the Swiss consular officials who represent American interests in Iran.
As of December 42 journalists and bloggers were in prison in Iran, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. More than 60 journalists were forced into exile in 2011 alone, and authorities have shut down at least 40 publications since 2009. On January 17, 2012, Iran’s Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence for blogger Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident who was convicted of “insulting and desecrating Islam” in October 2011. At least two other individuals have been sentenced to death by the judiciary on internet-related charges. The government blocks certain websites that carry political news and analysis, slows down internet speeds to hinder web access, and jams foreign satellite broadcasts.
In January 2011 a revolutionary court sentenced Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent rights lawyer, to 11 years in prison and barred her from practicing law and leaving the country for 20 years on charges of “acting against the national security” and “propaganda against the regime.” The judiciary later reduced her sentence to six years and a 10-year ban on travel and practicing law. The judiciary prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced several other prominent lawyers to prison terms and bans on the practice of law. Earlier in the year Sadegh Larijani, the Head of the Judiciary, warned lawyers that they should refrain from giving interviews that damage the government’s reputation.
On January 10, 2012, the Interior Ministry’s election commission disqualified several dozen candidates from running in the upcoming March 2 parliamentary elections because of their “lack of adherence to Islam and the Constitution.” The disqualified candidates include several incumbents who were critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government. In November and December reformist and opposition activists, some of whom are currently serving prison terms, issued several statements calling the parliamentary elections a sham and concluding there was no reason to field candidates. In December the Iranian judiciary announced that anyone calling for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections would be subject to prosecution.

Mousavi and Karroubi were placed under house arrest in February 2011 after they called for mass protests. Several days earlier, beginning on February 8, security forces had arbitrarily arrested dozens of political opposition members in Tehran and several other cities.

“The continued detention of Mousavi and Karroubi, not to mention the dozens of reformist candidates arrested after the disputed 2009 presidential election, is a reminder to all of us that Iran’s human rights crisis is linked to the demand of citizens to participate in free and fair elections,” Whitson said.

Källa: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/01/22/iran-authorities-defiant-rights-record

Husby Träff: Ockupationen växer

Efter första natten av ockupation av Husby Träff och en god frukost började dagen med ett planeringsmöte. Det diskuterade om vad skulle göras när byggnadsarbetarna som ska börja montera ned Träffen anländer.

Ganska snart kom arbetarna. Bashar från ockupationen förklarade vad kampen handlar om och arbetarna sa att de förstod, den här gången ville de bara hämta ett svart tyg som ska användas till en teaterpjäs i den nya lokalen, vilket de fick göra.

Därefter utgick patruller av ockupanter som ställde sig för att informera alla vid tunnelbaneingångarna om att ockupationen pågår och bjöd in till kommande stormöten. De flesta kände inte till ockupationen men nyheten blev varmt emottagen.  Andra ringde runt till media och förberedde för dagens aktiviteter.

Kl 10 var det dags för stormötet. Vi var 20 närvarande. Olika exempel på vad Husby Träff används till togs upp, som barnkalas, teaterföreställningar, politiska möten, dans mm.

Det konstaterades att en stadsdel borde ha både Träff och krog (Svenska Bostäder har tänkt att Träffens verksamheter ska husera i de tomma lokalerna där Husby Krog tidigare var) .

Farid gjorde poängen att det inte bara handlar om Träffens överlevnad utan om att protestera mot kränkningen från makten. Flytten av Husby Träff, utan någon som helst konsultation med föreningslivet,  är droppen. Politiker och byråkrater har gång efter annan kör över folkopinionen – nu får det vara nog.

Ganska mycket tid ägnades åt att diskutera ett förslag att ta efter Occupy Stockholms mötesordning, som bland annat innehåller konsensus.

Vi enades om att enkel majoritet räcker, att det är bra att ha en ordfördelare utöver mötesordföranden vid större möten och att alla som deltar i och/eller stödjer ockupationer har rösträtt, även boende utanför Husby.

Dock ska mer göras för att få fler Husbybor involverade. Följande paroller föreslås antas på stormötet klockan 18:
1. Husby Träff ska finnas kvar i befintliga lokaler
2. Husby Träff skall finansieras av Stockholm Stad
3. Stoppa nedskärningar i Husby och Järva-området
4. Inför en lokalt förankrad styrgrupp med representanter för boende i Järva med vetorätt mot politiska beslut som rör stadsdelarna.

Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna har under många år haft Husby Träff som möteslokal och deltar självklart i ockupationen. Uppgifter nu borde vara att sprida ockupationen till ännu många fler boende, arbeta på mer mediabevakningen och få ansvariga politiker och tjänstemän att komma ut och ta diskussionen. Under dagen har över hundra personer kommit till den ockuperade Träffen för att visa sitt stöd

RS Husby

http://rssthlm.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/husby-traff-ockupationen-vaxer/

Spända relationer mellan Iran och väst

Den dödade iranska kärnfysikerns bil forslas bort. Foto: Mehdi Marizad/Scanpix.
Den dödade iranska kärnfysikerns bil forslas bort. Foto: Mehdi Marizad/Scanpix.

En iransk kärnfysiker dödades i dag i ett bombdåd i Teheran. Iran anklagar Israel för att ligga bakom dådet som ytterligare trappar upp ett redan spänt klimat mellan Iran och västvärlden angående Irans kärnenergiprogram.

I måndags dömdes en påstådd CIA-spion till döden i Iran samtidigt som en ny urananrikningsanläggning avslöjades i Iran. USA försöker just nu övertyga Kina att delta i en skärpning av sanktionerna mot Iran.

Den 32-årige kärnenergiexperten Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, dog omedelbart när bilbomben exploderade i morse. Roshan var universitetsprofessor och en av cheferna för urananrikningsanläggningen i Natanz. Två män på motorcykel uppges ha fäst en magnetisk sprängladdning på universitetsprofessorns bil medan han körde – hans två passagerare skadades.

Enligt Teherans viceguvernör, som genast la skulden på Israel, var sprängladdningen av exakt samma slag som de som använts vid tre tidigare attentat mot iranska vetenskapsmän inom kärnenergisektorn. För exakt två år sedan – den 11 januari 2010 – dödades en annan iransk kärnfysiker i ett sprängdåd. Iran kallar dagens mord för statssponsrad terrorism.

Ordkriget mellan Iran och västvärlden har trappats upp de senaste veckorna. Oljepriset gick upp efter att Iran hotade stänga Hormuzsundet – som en protest mot utökade sanktioner. Och nyheten häromdagen om att Iran har börjat anrika uran djupt inne i en skyddad bergsbunker nära den heliga staden Qom har gjort det svårare för Israel och USA att hota med möjliga bombräder mot Irans kärnenergiprogram.

Men än så länge koncentrerar USA sina krafter på ekonomiska sanktioner. USA:s finansminister Timothy Geithner besöker just nu Peking för att övertyga Kina att skärpa tonen och sanktionerna mot Iran. Men Kina, som är Irans största oljekund, försvarade handelsförbindelser med Iran och uppmanade istället Iran och IAEA, internationella atomenergiorganet, att samarbeta.

http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=83&artikel=4902450

Iran knyter starkare band med Latinamerika

Venezuelas president Hugo Chavez tillsammans med irans president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vid ett besök i Venezuela 2007.  Foto: Venezuelas UD/Scanpix.

Hugo Chavez och Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vid ett tidigare besök i Venezuela. Foto: Venezuelas UD/Scanpix.

Irans president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inleder imorgon söndag en rad statsbesök i Sydamerika. Under det veckolånga besöket ska han hinna med Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador och Kuba. Fyra länder med vänsterregeringar som är öppet kritiska mot USA.

Ahmadinejads besök sammanfaller med de allt större hoten från EU och USA om utökade sanktioner mot Iran, som de anklagar för att ha ett kärnvapenprogram.

I Washington och Vita huset, ser de inte besöken med blida ögon. Enligt en talesperson för Obamas administration, är besöken en desperat handling från Irans sida för att få nya vänner, samtidigt som sanktionerna mot landet får allt större effekt. Vita huset varnade de latinamerikanska ledarna för att knyta nya band till Iran.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, som är republikansk ordförande för amerikanska representanthusets utrikesutskott, varnade för “Ahmadinejads önskan att stärka band med antiamerikanska diktatorer”, något som hon kallade för ett direkt hot mot USA:s intressen.

http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=83&artikel=4895799

Den tidiga julklappen från Migrationsverket var stenhård

Kan tvingas åka tillbaka

fotograf Jan Johansson VK

Det senaste utvisningsbeslutet kom både oväntat och chockartat för makarna Nasser och Ingrid Abiat i Åsele.
FOTO: Jan Johansson

Hemma hos Nasser och Ingrid Abiat är den första decemberdagen grå och kall. Den tidiga julklappen från Migrationsverket var stenhård. Just nu står livet stilla. Att gå och vänta på beskedet om utvisning är själsdödande, säger Ingrid Abiat.

Nasser Abiat som varit politisk aktiv i den arabisktalande södra delen av Iran har förlorat en av sin viktigaste strider. Efter två år i Sverige riskerar han att behöva lämna sin fru och den trygga vardagen i Åsele.
Fruktar för sitt liv Han fruktar både för sitt och sin familjs säkerhet i Iran. – När jag kommer tillbaka kommer jag troligen att fängslas och torteras. Jag blir kanske avrättad. Många araber har avrättats i det här området, säger han.
Nasser Abiat har varit politisk aktiv via en blogg på nätet och han har blivit intervjuad flera gånger av en arabisk tv-kanal som berättat om hans politiska kamp mot den nuvarande regimen i Iran. Han har också byggt upp en utställning under sin tid i Åsele i sin strävan för mänskliga rättigheter i sitt hemland.
Det är också därför som han inte kan tänka sig att återvända. – Jag fruktar för mitt liv om jag återvänder till Iran. Ett par dagar efter att jag gav intervjun i den arabiska tv-kanalen Tishk greps min bror av säkerhetspolisen. Han visste ingenting om det här, men han satt ändå häktad i 27 dagar innan han släpptes.
Att gå och vänta på beskedet är själsdödande
Nasser och Ingrid Abiat som varit gifta i ett år har överklagat utvisningsbeslutet ett flertal gånger och den senaste gången var han övertygad om att han skulle få stanna eftersom Migrationsverket blivit välvilligare inställd mot politiska flyktingar från Iran.
Inte trovärdig Nu visade det sig att det inte gällde för Nasser Abiat.
I beskedet står det att han inte har kunnat visa upp tillräckliga trovärdiga skäl för att få stanna i Sverige. De menar att hans politiska engagemang har legat på så låg nivå att det troligtvis inte har upptäckts av de iranska myndigheterna.
Det ställer han sig mycket frågande till. – Jag hade gripits ett par gånger innan jag lämnade Iran och avtjänade en villkorlig dom på tre år. Jag misstänker även att min telefon avlyssnas när jag ringer hem till mina föräldrar.


Klicka på bilden för att öppna i nytt fönster

Frida Metso: Inför stickprov på Migrationsverket

Frida Metso. Foto: Axel ObergFoto: Axel Öberg

På senare tid har flera tvångsutvisningar till Iran stoppats, men än fler verkställts. Många av de utvisade är relativt unga personer som krävde mänskliga rättig­heter och demokrati efter presidentvalet 2009 i Iran. Tusentals har, efter protesterna, fängslats. Rättegångarna pågår fortfarande och numera är det möjligt att åtala iranier enbart för att de sökt asyl  i ett annat land.

Trots att den politiska demonstranten från Iran för många svenskar är sinne­bilden av en flykting, och trots att många av iranierna jag möter inte bara fruktar framtida tortyr utan också redan blivit torterade, anser Migrationsverket och Migrationsdomstolarna att de kan ut­visas.
Det jag hör från Iran tyder på mot­satsen att utvisade fängslats, försvunnit och flytt igen men vi som är aktiva i frivilligorganisationer har sällan de rätta kanalerna för att få fram säker information.

Sverige har dock ett ansvar för rätts­säker­heten i vår myndighetsutövning. Migrationsverket borde få i uppdrag att utvärdera sina egna beslut. Via exempelvis ett stickprovsystem bör utvisade kontaktas. De bör vara lätta att hitta, och trygga att söka upp, om Migrationsverket gjort en korrekt bedömning. Men om inte – om personen har hotats eller utsatts för våld – bör den asylsökande beviljas återresa till Sverige och informationen göra svenskt rättssystem säkrare.

Och allra minst borde, innan ett utvärderingssystem är på plats, inga fler asylsökande utvisas till Iran.

Frida Metso är ordförande för Flykting­- gruppernas riksråd, FARR

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